Stay in a University Dorm while traveling

Flip Flops and Pajama Bottoms

Stay in a University Dorm during Summer Travel

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http://www.halls.london.ac.uk/visitor/international/

I have been searching for alternatives to staying in a hotel when I travel.     As I find new opportunities I share them on my blog.
You may have read about staying in convent (hotels) and monasteries in Italy  (monastarystays.com)   something I have done for the past 8+ years.   Each location is a  unique experience.    I have tried an  air stream parked on a beach at KOA on  Cape Hatteras.    Far better than I expected and somewhere I would be happy to return to.   See the story at:      http://bit.ly/1a1mCVX

I have read about Universities’ offering dorm rooms for rent during summer  and/or other times the dorms are not in use.     The price is always reasonable and the locations are often in the city and near public transportation. 
Planning for a visit to London in May I started to search for Universities offering ‘rooms for rent’.    There was as a surprising number of schools participating in ‘summer rooms for rent’.    Unfortunately  many  of  the programs  did not start until the end of the of the
the school term. 
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  The  London University had rooms available and I booked a single room with full bath.      Sharing a bathroom with 25 to 50 college students would only make them uncomfortable not to mention me……so rooms with full baths were exactly what I was looking for.
The dorm I was assigned to was a short walk from the St Pancreas train station where I arrived from Dover.   After the amazing renovation of this historic station it was a treat to take a walk through the extensive shopping and dinning mall.       Cafes were noted for future meals if I needed a ‘solo friendly’ establishment.    After all most travelers at a train station are solo.
I had Goggled the walking instructions and picked up a map from the very friendly Tourist Office at the west side of the station.   It was an easy walk and more important one with sidewalks and ramps for those dragging a piece of luggage.
Arriving before 2 pm I was told to return at 2.   At 2 the small problems started.   Even after 5+ emails to assure my room was ensite, I was assigned a room with communal bath.   I have to confess to ‘loosing it’.   As I am using the buildings WIFI to find a ‘real room’ my savior Sapina arrived.   Since this was a weekend there was no one at the University housing office to help. A senior in the building was assigned to ‘fix’ the problems and Sapina did a GREAT job.   After a tour of the building I settled into my ‘dorm’ room.    Since no other ensuite   rooms were available, I was given one with a kitchen, no pots, not pans, no dishes but a kitchen.

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A single bed, small kitchenette and on the other wall a large desk area
The bath was modern and had extremely hot water!
Negative:  you only get one towel so bring your own second if you need one.
Bed was more of a cot, long term stays might be uncomfortable.
The building has quiet rules and after 11pm is very quiet.  

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The building has endless facilities:       laundry, game room, squash court, courtyard for sunny days, recreation/TV room, movie room and more. 
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An easy walk from the Russell Square tube station and the St Pancreas train station.
The room comes with daily breakfast but if you are a tourist or have an early appointment don’t plan on breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday, there is brunch and it is at 10:30!     Because I wanted to experience the breakfast I returned to the dorm to walk through the line with my other ‘students’.
Apparently many parents visit the university and often stay in the dorms so I did not look too out of place.   I think they put me in the grandparents file.     What was very interesting is that NO ONE SPOKE TO ME.    I suppose some of the students had ‘big’ nights and were not in a chatty mood.   Many were wearing sweat pants and flip flops and some of those pants looked like PJ’s.
After all these years I thought I would feel memories from the old days but I just felt foreign, both in nationality and age.

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Food hall on the lower level of the building            The atrium was bright even on the cloudy day

Rental links:
http://www.westminster.ac.uk/business/facilities-and-services/summer-accommodation

http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/accommodation/summer-accommodation/

good article on alternative housing options:
http://golondon.about.com/od/londonhotels/fr/Imperial-College-Rooms.htm

http://www.arts.ac.uk/housing/summeraccommodation/

http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/summeraccommodation

Published by Lee Laurino

A traveler not a tourist, searching for experiences not in travel books. Solo traveler who travels as long and far as possible sharing photos of the people and places I discover

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